Think "concept car" and probably something space-shippy jumps - or, should I say, zooms - to mind. But interestingly, what seems to put the luxe in luxury is pretty far from futuristic. "Lately the beautiful compositions and rich palettes of food photography in magazines like Cereal and Kinfolk charm me," explains Alexandra Dymowska, color and trim designer for Cadillac who works as the brand's aesthetic expert. "Colors, especially the ones we surround ourselves with, are deeply individual."
As her inspiration board (above) shows, rather than the future-forward, black hues and chrome-covered surfaces you might envision in our cars to come, it's the rich colors of Mother Nature, butter-soft leathers and textures (of Mother Nature) and elegant tone-on-tone collages (Mother Nature...again) that apparently best convey L-U-X-U-R-Y. "My sources of inspiration are many and mixed with my personal interests," she continues, "from time spent exploring colors and materials with our Cadillac artisans and craftsmen...to trade shows, fashion, trend research, international travel and immersing myself in different cultures."
What I thought so interesting is that to convey the feel of "luxury" + "futuristic", Dymowska doesn't look to areas where the actual future is happening: robotics, nanotechnology, biotech and the space program. Rather, her inspiration for colors and trim on models like the ATS is far more earth-bound.
Which I found surprising. And, in a way, completely uninteresting. It's that kind of thinking, I think, that makes for pretty looking boxes on wheels which reflect the inside-the-box (if not backward-looking) mindset of an industry sorely in need of design paradigm shift. Summed up nicely here by this analyst for Kelley Blue Book pondering why it is that Cadillac can't seem to summit into the must-have category of their European rivals: "Lifelong Cadillac customers may be intimidated by the brand’s radical departure in styling and advanced technology," he notes - which is probably a good thing. But remaining mired in the past isn't - particularly if you want to become the must-have of the current generation. "In the eyes of many young buyers," he continues, "it’s still associated with its “older” roots."
As I was just sayin'....
- Lesley Scott
(image via Cadillac)
NOTE: Looking to the past and the traditional to help us pave the way forward fashionwise is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts & podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.